Norma Rae (1979) - Rotten Tomatoes

Norma Rae1979

Norma Rae (1979)



Critic Consensus: Spearheaded by a galvanizing Sally Field, Norma Rae is a heartening and politically powerful drama about an ordinary woman taking an extraordinary stand.

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Movie Info

Norma Rae, a young Southern woman working at a cotton mill, encounters a union organizer and decides to join the effort to reform working conditions. This Oscar-winning drama follows Norma's crusade, as she leads a shutdown despite the opposition of her family and employers.


Sally Field
as Norma Rae
Pat Hingle
as Vernon
Gail Strickland
as Bonnie Mae
Morgan Paull
as Wayne Billings
Robert Broyles
as Sam Bolen
John Calvin
as Ellis Harper
Booth Colman
as Dr. Watson
James Luisi
as George Benson
Gilbert Green
as Al London
Bob Minor
as Lucius White
Mary Munday
as Mrs. Johnson
Gregory Walcott
as Lamar Miller
Roy Tatum
as Woodrow Bowser
Noble Willingham
as Leroy Mason
Bert Freed
as Sam Dakin
Bob Hannah
as Jed Buffum
Edith Ivey
as Louise Pickens
Frank McRae
as James Brown
Gerald Okuneff
as Pinkerton Man
Henry Slate
as Policeman
Joe Dorsey
as Woodrow
J. Roy Tatum
as Woodrow Bowzer
Vernon Weddle
as Rev. Hubbard
Jack Stryker
as J.J. Davis
View All

News & Interviews for Norma Rae

Critic Reviews for Norma Rae

All Critics (27) | Top Critics (6)

As a rule, the filmmakers manufacture fake climaxes every 10 or 15 minutes, poop out and lapse into forgetfulness, just as if they were structuring the material for television.

April 24, 2018 | Full Review…

It's a dear and corny story, played with lovable grubbiness by Sally Field and Ron Leibman, but it's not about what you think.

February 6, 2018 | Full Review…

Photographed in murky yellows and browns by John Alonzo, this 1979 film is sluggish and vague, trivializing its subject in a wash of unearned sentimentality.

January 11, 2008 | Full Review…

Norma Rae is that rare entity, an intelligent film with heart.

January 11, 2008 | Full Review…

Nicely performed by a strong cast, especially Field and Leibman, it's often mawkishly soft, but surprisingly touching.

January 26, 2006 | Full Review…

Norma Rae is a seriously concerned contemporary drama, illuminated by some very good performances and one, Miss Field's, that is spectacular.

May 20, 2003 | Rating: 4/5

Audience Reviews for Norma Rae

A fantastic social drama, and still relevant today too! Field is perfect, and she even won an award for this performance, so if you're a fan don't miss this one. It's a really good movie.

Aj V
Aj V

Super Reviewer

Sally Field makes her outstanding performance (she won her first Best Actress Oscar) as a southern textile work attempting to unionise the mill with the aid of organiser Ron Leibman. Film is based on a true story and has good eyes and ears for authenticity. Entire case is first rate.

Dean McKenna
Dean McKenna

Super Reviewer

Sally Field is such a very good actress and shines in: Norma Rae. Field plays Norma Rae whom lives in a very small town. Her livelihood depends on her job at the local and very established factory until one day things start to change for the worse. Norma then decides to take a stance and fight for a Union to get better compensation that is rightfully there's. This is an insiring film and Sally Field does a very good job with this role...very believable from start to finish....worth spending your time to see this 80's classic.

Mason Williams
Mason Williams

Super Reviewer

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